A comparison of approaches to documentary photography of 1930s America and contemporary South Africa.
The research for this degree comprises a theoretical dissertation and a practical component of photographs. The theoretical research investigates the practice of documentary photography in America and South Africa. The photographs of Walker Evans, Robert Frank, David Goldblatt and Bob Gosanl are examined against the background of two organisations, the Farm Security Administration and Drum. These organisations influenced the documentary genre in their respective countries because of their socio-polltical concerns: their choice and presentation of subject matter for publication influenced both the photographar and the viewer. Documentary photographs appear, because of their seemingly candid and unmediated nature, to present historically factual images. Examples from the work of the four photographers reveal their distinction from, continuity with the confines of the documentary genre. Their respective approaches reveal the role of perception as it manifests itself in their work. Subjugation, attltudes towards subject matter, and the pictorial construction of images are analysed in relation to each photographer's work. The relationship of image and text in documentary photography is seen as an element of intervention by the photographer. The selection of these photographers was motivated for their partinance to the subject matter and to the pictorial considerations of the candidate. These issues are therefore examined in relation to the candidate's approach to photography.
A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Arts, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partlal fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Fine Arts.
Documentary photography -- United States., Documentary photography -- South Africa.